1. It has been over 20 years since the Washington Redskins played in a Super Bowl. That makes most of us experts in how to enjoy a Super Bowl Sunday when your team is not playing in the game. The first few years after we won in 1991, I was not ready to really embrace the experience of settling in for a game that I desperately wanted my team to participate in. (Speaking of embracing...is everyone "Embracing the Haz?" HogHunter...still haven't seen the keystone marketing poster.)
2. Don't wait until Sunday to do the shopping for Super Bowl refreshments. This is not because every store is a disaster in the hours leading up to the game, or because of the long lines at the registers. Most snack and drink companies set up nice big Super Bowl displays that have everything you would want or need in one spot. By Sunday afternoon, these displays are sad, sad vestiges of their former selves. You are lucky if a single bottle of French Onion dip is left standing on the cardboard display. Most likely, you are left to choose from the oddball flavors they are trying to push like Mango-Pineapple Jalapeno Garlic Apple Salsa. The chip selection tends to be even worse. Yes, I have harvested from those fields, and no, my home's plumbing did not survive.
3. It is not just about making sure you get the exact menu of appetizers that you want. It is also about eating some of those appetizers before the "sharing" of said appetizers begins. Let's say you make a late Sunday visit to the store. Not only are you hoofing it from aisle to aisle, forced to collect your gameday feast one item at a time--you are also likely to get home just in time to share that food with your friends and family. I don't know about you, but I don't like to put out a full appetizer tray on an empty stomach. I need to have had first crack at the crescent roll-wrapped-sausages, the spinach balls (by far, the best part of the spinach) and the meat and cheese tray. Nothing puts me in a food-sharing mood more than not being hungry.
4. Finally, the biggest reason to not be stuck running errands is because when it comes time to get situated in front of the television, you don't want to be participating in the most important game of musical chairs on the calendar. You want to already be in your seat, watching everyone else battle for prime real estate. It's not like seating is decided right at kickoff. No...it is decided much, much earlier in the afternoon. It requires equal parts diplomacy and squatting. It requires a very economical use of "Fives," as well as the reliance on other human beings to respect and honor the rule of "Fives."
5. There is something to be said for the calm before the storm of any Super Bowl. You don't want to hit your couch just in time for the "Star-Spangled Banner" because you simply won't be ready for the game...spiritually. I don't recommend riding through all 18 hours of pregame coverage, either. I think you should tune in for the top of the NFL Countdown show, which begins at 10 AM. Stay with it for about an hour so to catch up on any Saturday night arrests and/or assistant coach meltdowns. Get the freshest takes of the day from the talking heads, and then move off of football entirely. Don't overdose on football before the big game. I can't stress this enough--as good as the coverage can be, there is a chance that if you watch every second of the lead-up to the game, you could die.
6. This is prime assgroove-building time. No matter how many hours you have put into your favorite recliner, there is no substitute for an entire afternoon spent melding your ass to your chair. Further, if anyone else tries to sit in your spot after this "melding" (assuming the intruding ass is not an identical mold), the well-worn groove will reject the intruder with discomfort.
7. I don't recommend moving to your Apple TV box, or Roku, Netflix, or even your DVR. You want to be able to check in to the coverage during commercials. On a day like this, the feeling of being "offline" from live programming causes a great deal of anxiety. Also, you want to really get your channel-flipping fix before the game. Commercials during the Super Bowl can be as must-see as the game itself, so you don't want to accidentally change the channel when the network goes to commercial and piss off the room full of people who may or may not care more about the commercials than the contest.
8. Here are some tips for alternative viewing options throughout the day on Sunday:
- The Caps and Red Wings drop the puck at 12:30 EST on NBC
- "Dazed and Confused" airs on Comedy Central at 12:30 PM EST
- "We Are Marshall" airs on ABC Family channel at 3:00 PM EST (Matthew McConaughey is a Redskins fan)
- AMC is running a marathon of "The Walking Dead" (a very solid channel to flip to throughout the afternoon)
9. If you enjoy adult beverages, don't wait to crack your first beer until kickoff. Similar to everything I have said above, you want to hit gametime pumping on all cylinders. For me, the coin toss is a perfect time to crack beer #3. It ensures that you won't be too tipsy to speak intelligently about why you bet $500 on "heads," while simultaneously ensuring you won't care as much when it comes up "tails."
10. Follow any of this advice at your own risk. If you do, you just might find yourself in the best seat in the house, with a heart and soul cleansed by zombie-killing. You will be neither ravenous for snacks, nor overly thirsty for beer. Your mental palate will be primed for the drama and intrigue of the biggest game of the year (outside of the Redskins/Cowboys game).